success road sign

 

 

 

 

In my own pet sitting business as well as in my work with pet sitters and dog walkers, I’ve discovered some common traits that nurture happiness and six-figure+ success.

Here are five secrets for success (practice them and watch your pet business grow and thrive!):

1. Set office hours and keep them. Successful pet business owners know when to close up shop and when to leave the door closed until morning (even if it is their home office).

2. Don’t offer discounts before your clients ask. And even then only give discounts during very slow periods. Be sure to let clients know that this is a ‘one-time event’. Also let them know (with a smile) that you plan to do such a good job that they will want you back at whatever price you charge! Confidence is attractive in a service-based business.

3. Set boundaries in a clear and direct way with clients. Successful pet business owners enforce their policies and procedures with clients regardless of how uncomfortable it might be to do so. Feel the fear and do it anyway (in a loving way). It’ll save you time and money and also gain respect from your clients.

4. Hire a manager who can help run your business so you can have a life again. (One that doesn’t involve work 24/7.) Successful pet business owners know that hiring and having a manager, or even just a phone and email assistant to help them run the business, will help them make more money in the long run. (In addition to bringing more happiness, joy and ease in running the business when they ARE working.)

5. Go on vacation at least once a year. Successful pet business owners have their priorities straight and a vacation is part of their priority. They put the vacation date in their calendar and it’s as solid as a client appointment. And once the date is set, everything works out from there.

If you have a pet sitting and dog walking company and you’d like to experience #4 above: This month I’m offering a brand new webinar on how to hire a train the right pet sitting and dog walking office manager.

HowtoTrainManagerWebinarImageIn the last few years I had 5 managers running my own pet sitting business and because of that I was able to travel around the world for months at a time (while my business ran under their care). And when I wasn’t traveling I only worked 2-3 days a week in my business. That’s the power of hiring good managers! And I’ll show YOU how you can do that too.

If you are ready to take your pet sitting business to the next level click to find out more and to sign up now for the How to Hire and Train The Right Pet Sitting Manager webinar.

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right textFor the past couple of years I’ve been hearing a 4-letter word that causes so much stress for pet sitters and dog walkers.

Here is the word: TEXT.

Texting from clients (at all hours of the day and night) and texting from staff (also at all hours of the day and night) infuriates many pet business owners.

And of course the pet owners expect an instant response because that pet care provider has responded at all hours of the day and night in the past. It’s hard not to. Can you really just sit there at 11pm and NOT respond to a text you’ve read? It’s tough.

But training your clients and staff is like training a dog: you have to train people on what works for you and what doesn’t. When you respond to client and staff texts at 11pm, it causes your clients and staff to send more texts at 11pm (or later, egads!)

Here’s the thing with the texting: Many pet business owners keep allowing it to happen, even though they dislike it so much.

They (mistakenly) assume their clients will leave them if they stop offering texting as a method of communication. They (mistakenly) assume that as a business they have to offer texting as a form of communication to their clients and staff.

Nope. You don’t.

And if you stop allowing your clients to text you, you will be AMAZED at how much more peace you feel.

I promise.

Here’s how to stop your clients and staff from texting you:

1. Alert your clients and staff via email that starting today, texting is no longer a viable form of communication. We’ve all had the experience of texts getting lost or not delivered to the right person so you can use that as an ‘excuse’ if you need one. Let them know you can be reached at your office phone number or email. Remind them of your office hours.

2. When clients or staff members do text you (and they probably will as it’ll be a habit especially if they’ve been texting you for years), don’t text a reply. That just reinforces the ‘bad behavior’. Call or email them to remind them that you no longer accept texts and to please email or call your office going forward.

3. If, after a few weeks, large amounts of your clients can’t seem to stop texting you then I recommend looking into changing your cell phone number and getting a business landline or a new cell phone. (They don’t need to know it’s a cell phone. In fact, if they know, you’ll be recreating what you just worked so hard to change.) Obviously, changing your business number is a last resort but one that will work very well if the texting is out of control and you see no light at the end of the tunnel even after you’ve done the steps above. You can then send out an email stating your new number and that it will not accept texts going forward. That will nip it in the bud.

4. If you feel that you simply must keep texting your clients and staff (and it annoys you that you must) then set firm office hours and put your cell phone in the closet during non-office hours.

5. If you do need to get a new phone line (or simply upgrade the one you have), I highly recommend this phone service: Ooma.com. It is fantastic! Here’s some of what I love about it: it’s super easy to set up, the Ooma box plugs right into your wall jack and Voila! You are ready to go.

The business phone service is under $20 per month (the personal phone service is only $4 a month!) There are too many great features that Ooma offers to mention here so I recommend that you check them out if your current business landline is too expensive (mine was over $100 a month before I switched to Ooma) and/or if you need to create a new phone line.

Wishing you a wonderful (and text-free!) weekend,

~Kristin

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I recently got an email with an dog video attachment from Karen Levy, owner of Laughing Pets Pet Sitting and Dog Walking in Atlanta, Georgia.

But here’s the thing: I see so many dog videos that I thought, “Ah, here’s yet another dog video, maybe I’ll watch this one later.”

But I clicked on it anyway and I’ve NEVER seen a dog video like this. It’s 32 seconds of Diesel the Dog….well, you’ll see…

 

 

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SellingPetBusinessWebinarImageOH, I’m so excited!

We’ve got hundreds of pet business owners (pet sitters, dog walkers, pet groomers, and doggy day care owners) from around the WORLD signed up for this next Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy webinar: “Create Your Exit Strategy: How to Prepare Your Pet Business For Sale”.

I sold my 18-year-old pet sitting business in 2013 and I’ve created a whole webinar on the ins and outs of how to prepare your pet business for sale and how to find the right buyer.

Even if you just started your pet sitting or dog walking business or you don’t want to sell for another 10 years you’ll want to attend this webinar. In it I will go over what you can do now in order to create more ease and get top dollar later.

There are proven steps for selling your pet sitting and dog walking. This webinar will take you through the process so you’ll have your eyes wide open when you are ready to sell (whether that be this year or ten years from now!)

THE WEBINAR IS OVER BUT YOU CAN NOW PURCHASE THE WEBINAR RECORDING HERE: How to Sell Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business webinar.

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1900329_10201766744790356_774646537_o 2013 First Place Photo Winner Submitted by Cindy Chain Johnson of Bed and Biscuit Pet Care in San Antonio, Texas

 

The 2nd Annual Six-Figure Pet Sitting Book Photo Contest is back! :)

Here’s how it works (it’s easy):

1. Take a picture of your pet(s) with either on of the books Six-Figure Pet Sitting or Six-Figure Pet Business

2. Post your picture on our Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy Facebook page or email it to me.

We’ll be picking the winners in June so submit your photo between now and May 31, 2014.

 

 

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StickyWebsiteWebinarImageLargeI’ve been reflecting on the early days of running my 18-year pet sitting and dog walking business and remembering the (many) challenges I faced early on.

One of the most challenging was after I’d had a great pet sitting website created. I felt so proud of it (such a nice site!) but then I realized that no one (not even me) could find my business online. Yikes.

It was a beautiful day when, after spending months learning SEO, I was able to rocket my pet sitting website to the top of Google and other search engines. Oh happy day.

(And later I went on to help many other pet business owners get to the top of the search engines through my SEO coaching and SEO webinar.)

It was very rewarding for me watch invisible businesses get visible online in only a week or two after the SEO changes.

But here was the strange part: even though the pet business owners I coached on SEO were highly visible to their target clients (most of the people I worked with were now on the first page of the search engines after our work together), many of them weren’t experiencing the rush of new client calls or emails that we both thought they would experience.

It was very weird.

I could see from behind the scenes (in computer lingo that’s ‘AW Stats’) that my SEO clients now had tons of website viewers (a huge amount more viewers than they’d ever had in prior months before the SEO coaching). So why weren’t they getting many more client calls?

It didn’t make sense. At all.

My pet sitting business was getting a massive number of calls and emails since I’d made the SEO changes on my website. In fact, my business had shot through the roof.  And a handful of my SEO clients were experiencing tons of new client calls too. Why weren’t all my SEO clients getting lots of calls?

I began studying my SEO client websites and then I noticed some key differences between those of us that were getting lots of calls and those that weren’t.

I had my clients make simple changes to their website that, once made, began to result in many calls and emails!

Suddenly these same clients who had complained about hardly any calls after the SEO work were now contacting me needing help hiring more staff so they could handle the huge amount of business they now had!

(A good problem.)

The flood gates had opened and now, not only were these pet business owners high up on Google and other search engines but they were also experiencing a ton of client calls (as it should be!)

Here’s the thing: you can do all the marketing in the world but if your website doesn’t have the ‘sticky effect’ you aren’t going to get the client calls.

You want your viewers to be glued to your website and you want to call those viewers into action so they become your clients. Even making a few small changes to your existing website can quickly increase business.

My upcoming webinar will show you how to turn your website into a powerful money-making machine that it was meant to be by helping pet owners who find you online become your clients.

If you are ready to turn your website viewers into clients, this is the webinar for you.

THE WEBINAR IS OVER BUT YOU CAN PURCHASE THE RECORDING HERE: HOW TO MAKE YOUR PET SITTING WEBSITE STICKY WEBINAR RECORDING.

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Pet Sitter Burnout I’ve been thinking a lot lately about business burnout and how to recover from it.

There are two reasons I’ve been thinking about burnout:

1) I’ve been hired to speak about that topic at a pet business conference in Virginia in September (more details to come soon)

2) Many of my coaching clients have been ultra stressed this week and saying things on our coaching calls like:

“The texting and calling from pain-in-the-butt clients at two in the morning is driving me crazy!” and “That high maintenance client I told you about 3 months ago? She’s getting worse…she’s more and more demanding. I can’t take it anymore!”

Many of us caretaker types are drawn to start pet businesses out of a sincere desire to provide quality care for pets and their people. This is a good thing.

The ability and desire to take good care of other beings is something that pet owners can feel when they meet many pet business owners. They want their pet care provider to be an exceptional caretaker.

However…the caretaking quality in many business owners (is this you?) can also lead to an inability to say no to demanding clients and to not set boundaries where they need to be set.

I encourage you to think of your unruly clients like dogs who are in need of a good, tough love training session.

I have a friend who has two dogs that pee all over the house and hump my leg when I come over.

Now…

I love dogs. More than words on a page can ever express.

But you’d never know I love dogs if you were to see me at her house. I’m going to be straight with you here: I don’t want to be around her dogs. If I never saw them again, I’d be thrilled.

These dogs (no longer puppies but you’d never know it by their behavior) have never been told NO.

And because of that, no one (including me) wants to accept my friend’s dinner invitations because: every room in her house smells like dog urine, the house is a mess from the dogs gnawing everything in sight and the dogs (drum roll) hump your leg while you are sitting at the dinner table. Ah, now that’s appetizing, eh? Not really.

Difficult clients (like difficult dogs) need tough love and training and the N word. And guess what? Caretaker types have a hard time with tough love, training and the word no.

So this is, in some ways, a match made in Hell.

Caretaker types think being soft is the answer. But it’s not. Not with Difficult Clients. If you are soft with Difficult Clients they will take every ounce of your life energy and then beg for more. You have to be strong.

95% of your life energy can quickly become consumed with those 5% of clients that are difficult and demanding. And then you’ll have nothing left over for the vast majority of your clients who are easy and well-trained in the art of being a Good Client.

So…some of the steps to recovering from business burnout require becoming better at:

  • Saying No. Practice by yourself in the car or with your dog if you need to: “I’m sorry, I’m not able to…”
  • Be willing to let those Difficult Clients go.  I know. You are scared about letting the money go but don’t worry: more Good Clients will come along to fill the void because of a law of physics: nature abhors a vacuum. I believe we also get rewarded when we are courageous enough to take good care of ourselves in spite of the fear of letting go of money.
  • Set boundaries. (In a short and sweet way, without apology.) Send out an email to your clients: “Dear Clients, Due to not receiving some of your texts we are no longer accepting texts as a form of communication from you as we want to be sure that we receive your communication. Please contact us by phone or email only from now on. Thanks and have a good day.”

I’ll be writing more about this subject in future blog posts. Stay tuned!

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Okay, so I’ve had a number of you pet sitting and dog walking business owners contact me about having missed the “How to (Dramatically!) Increase Your Pet Business Website Search Engine Optimization (SEO) webinar earlier this month. Some of you very sad and depressed about it.

No worries! :)  SEO-CD

The webinar recording is now available for instant download so you can watch and listen right now.

The webinar recording also comes with an 8-page SEO tips and tools sheet and a list of 75 FREE directories to list your pet sitting or dog walking business online.

Here’s the thing” SEO is the single most effective marketing action you can take in your pet business this year.

Google and other search engines are where your clients are looking for you. This webinar recording will turn your invisible business into being highly visible (most pet sitters and dog walkers who take the SEO actions I suggest go from being on page 2 or 3 on Google to being on page 1 (and sometimes even the 1, 2, or 3rd position on Google).

If one of your goals this year is to get more pet sitting and dog walking clients this is for you!

THE WEBINAR IS OVER NOW BUT YOU CAN purchase the SEO for Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers webinar recording.

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For years I’ve been offering private SEO coaching for pet sitters, dog walkers and dog trainers who want to get their pet sitting, dog walking and dog training websites high up on Google and other search engines.

I love working with pet business owners in this way because the results are usually so QUICK and PROFOUND.

The SEO pet business clients that I work with start out with websites that are impossible to find on the web to often (after only one SEO coaching session with me!) jumping to Page One of Google and the other search engines. It’s so rewarding for both of us!

In early November I was mulling over what webinar to do for December. It’s such a busy month -especially for pet sitters and dog walkers- and I pondered what webinar would make a profound difference for those of you who provide pet sitting, dog walking and dog training services and help you step powerfully into the new year?

I decided to create my SEO webinar for pet business owners as a way for everyone to be able to experience the benefits of knowing what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to catapulting to the top of Google and the other important search engines.

For only $30 ($40 if you sign up after this Saturday) you can learn all the tips and tools you will need to become highly visible and get that phone to ring off the hook from pet owners who find you online.

This webinar includes some goodies too!

  • 8-page SEO tips and tools booklet so you can relax and listen to the webinar without taking notes
  • List of 100 FREE places to list your pet sitting, dog walking, or dog training business online
  • Replay link if you missed the webinar so you can listen and learn about SEO at a time that is convenient for YOU

I won’t be offering this webinar again for a few months so if one of your 2014 goals is to get lots of clients, now is the time to sign up!

THE SEO FOR PET SITTING BUSINESS WEBINAR IS OVER BUT YOU CAN PURCHASE THE REPLAY LINK INSTANTLY NOW. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THE HOW TO INCREASE YOUR SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION FOR PET SITTERS AND DOG WALKERS WEBINAR REPLAY LINK.

 

 

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Hello dog walkers and pet sitters,

I recently got the news that I’ll be speaking at a Virginia pet business conference on Sept. 19 and 20, 2014.

Cesar Millan will also be speaking and the Monks of New Skete will be leading a very special dog handling workshop. How fun!

I especially love speaking at pet sitting networking groups and pet sitting conferences because most of my coaching for pet sitters is done via the phone since nearly all of my coaching clients live far away from my office. It’s such a treat to see and connect with pet sitters and dog walkers in person and speaking at pet sitting conferences and networking groups gives me an opportunity to do that. I love it.

My topic at the 2014 Virginia pet business conference will be “Recovering from Pet Business Burnout”. Having happily recovered from this ailment myself a few years ago after working 7 days a week for years on end, it’s a topic I’m passionate about and one that has made one of the greatest impacts on my business and personal life.

It will be so fun to see you at the business conference if you can make it. I’ll be sharing more details as it gets closer (like who is putting the conference on and where in Virginia it will be located).

Take good care,
~Kristin

*Photo of Kristin courtesy of In Her Image Photography.

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